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Artists Join Forces to Raise Money for Literacy

Jim Cuddy with adoring fans
The annual Richardson GMP Evening of Wine & Words in support of the Centre’s Books for Babies and Edmonton Classroom on Wheels (C.O.W.) bus programs was a huge success.

The evening began with cocktails in the foyer adjacent to the Empire Ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The silent auction had an eclectic mix of items, from a gift certificate for a mobile spray tanning session to the hotly contested guitar signed by Jim Cuddy and Wayne Petti.

The incomparable man of many hats, Mark Scholz, acted as Master of Ceremonies, auctioneer, and wine “commentator.” Mary Pinkoski, Edmonton poet, had the sold-out audience on their feet after her stirring reading of the poem she created especially for the evening.

Meghan Morrison donated a private house concert for the silent auction and she and her band were there to promote the concert by performing a few songs during dinner. For a second year in a row, Corb Lund attended the evening and had the audience singing the chorus to his song “Rye Whiskey.” A private concert with Corb was then auctioned and the lucky winner also received a guitar signed by the artist.
Wayne Petti
The main event of the night was the performance by Jim Cuddy and Wayne Petti. “I have been coming to this event for years,” said one guest, “and this was by far the best night ever. I don’t know how they will top it for next year, but I know they will.”

A special thank you to the volunteer committee who put endless hours into making the evening a success. Thank you to our sponsors, donors, and attendees for their continued support of our work.
Sponsor Listing
  • Richardson GMP
  • Bella Maas Boutique
  • Ecologic Builders Inc.
  • Luxus Vacation Properties
  • Sobeys Spirits, Wine and Cold Beer Stores
  • Swish Flowers

Health Literacy

The Canadian Council on Learning’s report, Health Literacy in Canada, defines health literacy as a broad term referring to how individuals access, use, and understand health information. It covers skills like reading prescription labels, talking to doctors and following their instructions, and using this information to make more informed decisions. The report found a strong link between literacy and well-being: people who are able to read and learn about this topic have a better level of health.

"According to a follow-up analysis from the 2005 Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey, 60% of adult Canadians have health literacy levels too low to properly make health decisions themselves. "

Numbers are even lower in certain minority groups, including the elderly. As Canada’s population ages, average health literacy levels decrease; however, many health materials continue to be written beyond the reading level of an average high-school graduate.

The analysis revealed other influences on health literacy in Canada, including education. Adults with less than a high-school education perform much worse on the health literacy scale than adults with higher education. Variance between provinces and territories is also important: Nunavut has the lowest health literacy levels, whereas the Yukon Territory has the highest.

In a recent Practitioner’s Guide released by the Goodling Institute (“Addressing the Health Literacy Needs of Adult Education Students”) the authors stated that health professionals have a responsibility to make navigating the health system easier for those with low literacy levels by making materials simpler and easier to understand. Even doctors taking the time to explain instructions in simple terms goes a long way.

This guide suggested that literacy practitioners can also help increase health literacy by teaching health knowledge along with reading skills. Many practitioners already include units on topics such as common illnesses and symptoms, but this information would be more helpful spread across multiple lessons instead of in a single unit. Doing so would also allow for more specific knowledge of disease treatment and prevention to be presented.

Government policy changes in support of health literacy would also be effective and worthwhile for individuals. People with higher health literacy levels are better able to manage health-related issues. They take up less of doctors’ time and make fewer mistakes in following medical instructions; therefore, they require fewer resources from the healthcare system.

The more people with high levels of health literacy, the more money the government can save overall, and the healthier the population will be in general, making improving health literacy in everyone’s best interests.

In keeping with the Centre’s belief that literacy develops in families first, we have produced a new resource for parents entitled Family Literacy and Health. The resource includes activities that help parents prepare their children for visits to the doctor, dentist, public health clinic, and hospital. This resource can be found on our website at http://famlit.ca/resources/resources_p.shtml


I Hate Math!

Many of us have been guilty of uttering these words. Yet math is an integral part of our daily lives: how long will it take to cook a 3 kilogram roast, how much is 25% off of the listed price, how much sand will I need to order to fill the new sandbox?
Parents play a major role in building an understanding of mathematical concepts for their preschool children. Concepts like counting, recognizing numbers, patterning, comparing, and sorting lay a foundation for future math learning.

The Centre’s new program, 3,2,1,Fun! provides parents with a variety of activities to use at home to incorporate math into their everyday lives. The current drop-in program is being run as part of the Moms are Us program at the Aboriginal Parent Link Centre in Edmonton.

Parents, grandparents, and their preschool children gather on Monday afternoons and together they explore ideas and activities to use at home. These activities can be as simple as making number cards to use in games to help their children recognize numbers or matching socks while they do the laundry. They learn there is a lot of math in books including shapes, numbers, problem solving, and much more. The book What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? by Richard Van Camp was a favourite with the group.

Technology is also incorporated into the program. Using an iPad provided by the Centre, parents have discovered free apps like Caboose Express, for patterns and sorting, and Math Dots (Dinosaur), a connect the dots puzzle that reinforces math concepts.

Parents are being given the tools to include math in their daily activities so that their children have a foundation to build on future learning. Both the parents and their children are learning that math can be fun!

3, 2, 1, Fun will be offered in the fall at Callingwood School on Tuesdays. See the sidebar above or check our website for date and time.

EPCOR Community Essential Council and Rotary Club of Edmonton fund this program.


I'm Bored...

How many times have you heard those two words over summer vacation? Here are some suggestions to keep your family busy and learning this summer:

  • Make a grab bag of activities. Write down a number of activities that you’d be willing to do this summer and when those two words are uttered, pull one out.
  • Keep a photo record of where you are this summer and what you’re reading. It could be reading while hanging upside down on the monkey bars or some exotic place while on vacation – be creative!
  • Join the Summer Reading Club at your local library.
  • Get active! Find some rhymes to go along with skipping or other outdoor games – or make up your own.
  • On a road trip, play a licence plate game. For example, find the alphabet in order using only licence plates or signs.
  • Keep a deck of cards with you at all times. They can be used for counting, matching, games, building, magic tricks and more.
  • Put on a community play or puppet show – get everyone involved from start to finish.
  • Summer recipes – collect and make a summer recipe book. Don’t forget the campfire cooking!
  • Make a scavenger hunt around your neighbourhood.
  • On a rainy day, look up information about something that has made you curious this summer. Perhaps you’d like to know all the things you can do with dandelions?

Watch our blog at http://famlit.ca/blog/ for additional information about these topics each week this summer.